Last Saturday saw Filipino pugilists successfully took out their opponents in convincing fashion at the Cebu City Coliseum. Led by reigning WBO Bantamweight Champion Gerry Penalosa, “The Battle of the Bantamweights” revealed promising boxers from the southern regions of the Philippines. Penalosa won a unanimous decision against German "Panteonero" Meraz of Mexico, improving his stellar record to 54-6-2, with 36 KOs.
Rolando "Smooth Operator" Magbanua’s fight with Mexican Jose Angel "Bocho" Cota ended with Magbanua winning a TKO in the 6th. Cota was bloodied early from the third and was unable to fend off the Filipino. Magbanua’s record now stands at 14-0, with 9 KOs. Glen Porras of Mindanao knocked Thailand’s Daothon Sithsoey in the first round, raising the Filipino’s record to 21-3, with 13 KOs.
While many Filipinos celebrated the feats of the young Filipino sluggers, some are not convinced or even entertained (writer included). While it is quite understandable that handlers pick opponents whom their boxers can handle, fans want to see boxers really duke it out. What transpired in the “The Battle of the Bantamweights,” or at least in some of the bouts, is that Filipino boxers were facing inferior opponents.
I do not hold anything against Filipino boxers, as they do fight with all that they got. However, we the fans want our boxers be slated against those who can punch back while taking hard punches.
Penalosa’s win did not cast any doubt on the veteran’s boxing skills, as he has proven himself as one of the elite boxers in the country. But would you rather see Penalosa continuously chase down his opponent? From where I sit or stand, Meraz was in the ring to survive all 12 rounds and running seemed to be his strategy of choice.
While this was a tune-up game for Penalosa’s upcoming bout against a much more dangerous fighter in Juan Manuel Lopez, I believe boxing fans did not wish to spend their hard-earned money just to watch a glorified sparring session.
Porras’ match with Sithsoey also proved to be a disappointing card. Anyone can deduce that Porras has considerable amount of punching power, but why chose a nobody from Thailand to face him? Heck, even the boxing analysts that night were not sure of the Thai’s professional record. Why not someone who can take a hit and still come forward just to prove how tough Porras is?
A win is worth celebrating. I can ride that. But promoters and handlers should pick quality opponents for their boxers to give them valuable experience and lessons they could use when it’s time for them to fight in bigger fights.
Congratulations, still, are in order.